Letting Go

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Letting Go post 2

Somehow it happens. Between listening to bedtime stories and skinned knees and first dates and college and a wedding, and then you’re the mom telling bedtime stories and kissing skinned knees and going to graduations and weddings, and can it really be that your babies are all grown up and having babies of their own? Then one day you slow down to catch your breath, and you look at your parents and realize they’ve grown old.

My mom is losing her memory. She’s frail and sometimes afraid, and I watched my father keep the vows he made to the bride of his youth, and I saw the walls closing in.

Something had to change.

I had a vivid daydream. It could work, but it would mean a lot of letting go for everyone involved, and who was I to suggest it? So I didn’t. But I did pray. “Lord, if this is of You, bring it to pass.”

Our son Luke and his wife, Sarah, planned to move to Japan as full-time missionaries last December, but several months before their departure, God gave them a clear sign the timing wasn’t quite right. Her name is Naomi Belle, and she’s due at the end of May.

With the delay, Luke mentioned a hope to move closer to my parents, and I breathed a prayer and asked them if they’d be willing. Yes, they said, if that would that be best for everyone.

God, You know.

I had a flight the next morning and spent the night at their house. Mom dozed in front of TV, and Dad and I talked in the kitchen, and did I want to see the latest doctor’s report? We sat on the edge of the bed and read the hard words, and then he recalled something I’d said before about navigating unknown territory and God providing when we ask, even when we don’t know what to ask for. I breathed another prayer and said, “You know that’s not just for my family but for everyone who asks Him.” And he was quiet, but hope sparked in his eyes.

Then, on the way to the airport, he hesitated only a moment. “Do you think Luke and Sarah would be willing to move in with us? I could clear out the back half of the house and they could have those rooms . . .” and he kept right on, describing my daydream to the last detail.

I listened amazed, and then I told him, and we shared the wonder.

They moved in last month. They’re painting and arranging, and life is echoing off walls that have been mostly quiet for a long time. The central room where my siblings and I played is now their living room. (They kept the carpet we added as teens. “When else in my life will I have orange shag carpet?” Sarah observed. Indeed.) My sister’s old bedroom is Luke’s and Sarah’s. And the same crib that still holds memories of Naomi’s father — infant smiles in early morning and little arms reaching up to embrace a new day — has been cleaned and reassembled in my childhood bedroom, awaiting sweet new life once again.

It’s a big change for all of them, and I won’t romanticize it, but I also can’t get over this holy sense of the divine dance. This time to be born and time to die and everything in between, and how life is one letting go after another, but only so our hands will be open to receive the next gift. The galaxies swirl, and the planets spin, and the God who holds it all together stoops low to visit a kitchen where a trembling woman wrestles an unnamed fear, and a grandson reads Words of Life, and a granddaughter-in-law comforts with presence, and a faithful husband-father-grandfather-great-grandfather recognizes an answer to a barely-believed-possible prayer.

And I, who watch and pray from a distance, live in this exquisite ache, trusting the Always Good — letting go of what was for what is and for the promised joy of what will be. Letting go, not because it’s easy, but because I know He never will.

Image by Jeanne Damoff. Used with permission. Post by Jeanne Damoff, author of Parting the Waters: A True Story: Finding Beauty in Brokenness